Catching Up On: Arizona + Las Vegas

Hey guys! I’m finally on winter break, which means more time to do things that aren’t schoolwork, schoolwork, and schoolwork. I guess I’ll start by delivering that post I kind of promised last time, which will be dedicated to answering this question:

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN SINCE MARCH?

Many places, actually. I’m not going anywhere outside of my house this Christmas for two weeks, so instead I’ll just marinate here in my room and show you guys visually everywhere that I’ve been in 2013, that is, from April to December. Here goes Part I of this catch-up installment.

SPRING BREAK – Arizona and Las Vegas

First up is Las Vegas. I really don’t know why people who do not fall into the category of “drunk twenty-somethings” go to Las Vegas at all. My overall impression of the place was: strippers. Johns. Cigarette smoke. Overexposure. Hot (temperature-wise, because, um, showgirls and prostitutes are not really my idea of the other type). Casinos. Dirty (in multiple senses). Cheap. Of course, I made the best of the situation, etc., but if it were up to me I would have never spent my spring break in Sin City. At least I got some decent photos there though.

Image

one of my favorite things to do, actually, is simulate bokeh by taking pictures of city lights at night and going deliberately out of focus. so cool!

Image

casinos…can’t say i enjoyed them, or las vegas in general, but ehh.

Image

state divide at hoover dam…which was an impressive concrete spectacle.

Image

yes, concrete

And then we crossed over from Nevada to Arizona. The Grand Canyon was a short distance away from Vegas. While it certainly was a nice change of scenery, didn’t really tickle my fancy either. I mean, yes, I know, it is one of the great tourist attractions/landmarks of America and all, with so much stone and so many canyons and towering great heights, but…in the end it’s just a bowl of rock. With a few tumbleweeds and tufts of desert grass. And scraggly squirrels. And warning signs everywhere about people who died over-hiking in the Grand Canyon so you should pack a lot of water and make sure you can get back up when you go down by nightfall and DID WE MENTION THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DIE IN THE GRAND CANYON???

Maybe it’s just me, though. I’m sure a variety of people such as hikers, geologists, and other athletic types love the Grand Canyon. Personally, my ideal type of vacation would be something to do with lots of greenery, hip and lively downtowns, art museums, and secondhand bookstores. I don’t particularly dig the whole arid Midwest thing. But hey, on a more positive note, there were some pretty parts of the Grand Canyon too.

Image

overlooking at one of the rims

Image

oooh, precarious cliff. don’t fall over!

Image

we bought some dreamcatchers at a shop in the grand canyon and hung them onto our rental Jeep

Image

road tripping it

Image

our car. pretty fitting with the terrain, right?

Image

beautiful sunset over a stretch of desert along the highway

Then we stopped by Zion National Park, where we ventured down into a crevice of the canyon and found this excellent watering hole place. My biggest regret is that we didn’t bring any swimsuits along, because it would have been so great to lay down with a towel on the huge flat slabs of rock by the water, eat lunch under the sun, and then dive into those pristine green depths. Just look at it.

Image

i caught some other people jumping off the cliff-rock into the waters instead. and hey, the 1/1000 shutter speed worked!!1!1!

And that, I believe, is it! Next up: NEW YORK CITY in April for that national competition that I talked about a few posts ago.

Advertisements

Oops.

So I guess I finally remembered I had a blog…ugh. It’s been a really long time and my mind has completely lapsed. Fortunately, though, you might be more cheered to know that I definitively haven’t stopped taking film pictures since my last blog post. In fact, I’ve gone through so many rolls that I just stopped keeping track. I also got a new lens for my Canon AE-1 Program, an f/1.4!

Now that I think of it, I have so much to talk about because it’s been so long, and so much progress has been made in my experience with analog photography. I’m even planning on submitting some of my pictures to this year’s Scholastic Art and Writing Awards because hey, what do I have to lose, other than $5 per picture for the submission fee? But alas, I am writing this post the Sunday before midterms week, in a classical act of Bad Decision Making. I tend to do that a lot around important test dates. God, what am I doing with my life.

But anyway. I’ll try to make a blog post during winter break of the highlights of all that’s happened from April to December. Some actually interesting stuff has gone down within that timespan–from the Grand Canyon in Arizona to islands off the East Coast in Maine, summers in the park, autumns in the apple orchards. My Flickr’s right here for proof. And did I ever show you guys those New York City photos from that national competition I went to? Damn, I think I have a post saved up somewhere about it.

Well. We’ll get to all of that soon, I hope. I dunno if anybody is still following me or if anybody remotely cares, but hey, this is a naturally barren corner of the Internet that I’m squatting in right now anyway, so that shouldn’t particularly matter, right? And also, my sister got a blog. She’s a good writer and has a lot of interesting thoughts, so you should go check that out.

I might take this blog in a new direction too once I get my matters in order. Talking about photography is great, but I want this page to encompass more aspects of me rather than just one. It’s probably going to be expanded to include music, art, and writing. Which is still pretty close to the photography realm, you know? Also maybe college stuff. Because college is coming up for me and that means I need somewhere to vent about it.

Roll No. 3: Sweet 16, Band Concert, and More!

Roll #: 3
Film: Fujifilm Xtra Superia 400
Developer: Costco
Mode: Programmed AE
Yay, 400 ISO film for the first time! The conditions in which I took the pictures were quite unnatural, i.e. mostly interiors, but thanks to the 400 things went pretty well. I definitely know the situation with low-light indoor pictures now. So without further ado, let’s get into it.
073791-R1-00-24A
So, first picture–the snow in front of my house. I’ve been reading about the exposure problems that happen when you shoot snow, so I had to go and take one myself just to see what it would turn out to be. This is what it turned out to be. Not necessarily over or under or anything-exposed, but rather just colorless, dull, and…white. But maybe that’s just what snow is like. I guess I have to resign myself to the fact that no good snow photography will be happening unless I find something snowy to focus on. (Is it possible to focus on snowflakes? Probably is, but it would require a better lens. Still figuring out what constitutes a better lens, by the way. F-stops are weird to understand.)
.
Oh, and if you noticed a little red dot in the center of that picture, that’s a cardinal.  There’s quite a bit of wildlife around my house, which really makes me wish I had a zoom lens sometimes!
073791-R1-01-23A
I was originally not even going to take this picture of the knife and the bread, but at the time I took it, my mom was about to leave to Costco, and I had only a few more pictures left on my roll before it hit the max. So, I was just randomly running around snapping photos of household stuff. I figured that the pictures would come out uninteresting and bad, but whaddaya know, they were some of the best ones in the roll. Especially after I upped the saturation. By the way, in my opinion, editing photos is not really “cheating”–it’s just using technology better to your advantage. Especially with film cameras.
073791-R1-02-22A
Here’s my favorite one out of Roll No.3. A jar of Nutella! Good subject, and also good execution. If I had to take it over again, I’d probably change the angle of either the camera or the knife somehow so that the tip of the knife doesn’t look all weird and blurry and white–because there was actually Nutella on that, but it’s unseeable. But other than that, I’m really quite satisfied with this picture! The colors are just the right sort of soft that film is so uniquely known for, and the crisp focus on the label really gives the eye something to pay attention to.
073791-R1-03-21A
Next location–my high school’s quarterly band and orchestra concert. Man, I love verticals. As I was standing in the warm-up room with my friends, I noticed a girl playing the piano while standing up (no bench in sight). Just as I got out my camera, she dropped her hand and started walking away. I called her back, gesticulating while waving my camera around, and asked her to come back and play for a few more moments while I took her picture. Luckily enough, she wasn’t completely creeped out by me and agreed. Is this how people photographers feel? It’s kind of weird, but also fun!
.
I really, really like the color scheme of this picture and how it all fits together–khaki green, black, warm yellow. Nice subject too. If only it could have been more in-focus. Of course, at the time that I took the picture, it had appeared to be in-focus…so why is it that sometimes certain pictures turn out to be blurry? Perhaps I had been shaking slightly from the awkward angle of holding the camera upright (I think I may have been clutching my clarinet in the crook of my arm, or just trying to back up as much as possible to get all of her in the shot), or maybe it was just because she was moving too fast. I think I need to go back to what I did in Roll No.1, which is actually experiment with Shutter Priority AE.
073791-R1-04-20A
Nothing much to say about this photo–other than the fact that the lighting seems to be quite yellowy. There was probably nothing I could have done about it though, considering we were in an indoor hallway that was predominately lit with yellowy florescent lights. I did learn that strings instruments are gorgeous objects to take pictures of though. Somehow, they manage to convey so much elegance and sentimentality just by their appearance!
073791-R1-05-19A
When I initially took this picture, I remembered thinking, “Oh, great. I have now allowed Orrin (I named my camera, yes) to stoop to the level of teenage girl Facebookers and digital handhelds: taking pictures of posing people.” I guess it looked a bit staged from the viewfinder. But, as you can see, the picture turned out pretty classy! All the other pictures that I took in the same room had a yellow tint to it, but this one looks rather clean and white. Weird! Maybe because of the openness of the surroundings? The mirrors in the back?
073791-R1-06-18A
I’m quite impressed that AE managed to capture the movement of this pianist’s fingers moving across the keys. But like I said with that other picture, next time I’d probably try some Shutter Priority. Perhaps then the fingers could be even more in-focus and sharp.
073791-R1-07-17A
I really like the composition of this picture! This is what being a photographer is about–capturing unique and interesting moments with people and things, that somehow convey more than just what was happening at that moment the shutter clicked. This picture was not staged at all, but the subjects managed to hold still long enough for me to snap a picture. That, and they also weren’t so camera-shy that they didn’t let me take a picture. Yay!
 073791-R1-09-15A
Scene change–we went out for dinner one night at Kruse and Muer, and I decided to test out night photography in preparation for my trip (this Sunday!) to Las Vegas. And hey, it didn’t turn out that bad! I still feel a bit insecure about taking pictures at night, since this was only one picture, and my film experience thus far consisting of three rolls seems to still be in the “testing the waters” stage, but if all goes well, I will be able to return home with some decent pictures of Sin City nightlife. I’m crossing my fingers…
073791-R1-10-14A
Then I took a picture inside the restaurant. See, this shot is another example of the Focus Problem. I’m pretty sure it was in focus from the viewpoint of the viewfinder at the time (I remember that I actually took this picture in hopes to capture the steam that was rising out of this cup), but it turned out not to be. I have a sneaking suspicion it might have something to do with shutter speed, which I will explain next in about two pictures down.
 073791-R1-12-12A
Look! My franz! This is at a different restaurant by the way–it was the Sweet 16th of my friend Shangari. This turned out pretty well, especially the focus, considering that we were in a super low-light situation (the meter was reading 2-4)–but awkwardly enough, Emily’s (the girl closest to the camera) eyebrows were very overexposed. But how does that even go about happening?! I can’t even begin to explain the witchcraft of light in this one.
073791-R1-21-3A
But anyway, here’s the thing with most of the pictures that I took at this Sweet 16th: too blurry. Too dark. Aaaaah! Even with 400 ISO, it was obvious that the lack of light in the situation made it very difficult to produce good photos. Maybe I need 800. Or maybe–and this is kind of a epiphany for me–the pictures were too blurry because the shutter speed is too slow. 
Back in the old crappy digital point-and-shoot days, when I took pictures with the “Night” mode, I would have to wait 15 seconds and hold absolutely still while the camera blinked a red light and did something with the shutter, and then even after that, the photos would almost always turn out really blurry. I’m too brain-dead to think of a reason why this and why that, but the fact of the matter is, I have learned from Roll No. 3 that:
/

low-light situation = faster film, faster shutter speed.

This is when Shutter Speed Priority AE would come in handy, supposedly. An important thing to remember for when I go to Vegas. At nighttime on The Strip and whatnot, there are probably going to be people and tourists and entertainers moving all around, blurring everything up unless I use 1/500 or 1/1000. But would that end up overexposing the shot, or…? Well, it’d probably be pretty hard to overexpose a picture taken at nighttime, when there’s limited light anyway. I guess I’ll just wing it and use either completely automatic settings, or the Shutter Priority.
So, yeah. The vast majority of all the rest of the pictures from No. 3 were just blurry photos of people grinning at the camera. A shame, because the soft yellow-orange lighting and the black backgrounds made a nice color palette. It’s just that everything was way too out-of-focus.
/
I’m really excited for this Spring Break, though! I have 5 rolls of film to use (two 200, three 400), which I just realized about a day ago might not actually be enough, because I’ll be gone for 7 days. But whatever, too late to order film now (it takes usually about 1.5-2 weeks to arrive, usually). I’m thinking the max allotment for my trip, then, would be one roll per day, unless I have a really good time in the Grand Canyon, in which that case I’ll take maybe 1.5 rolls there. That’s mostly because I’m figuring there won’t be much to take pictures of in Las Vegas. That city’s atmosphere really doesn’t cater at all to my nature-and-trees, hipster-town, Northwest-coast type of ideal vacation. But at any rate, going anywhere will be a wonderful change from these last 10 months in Michigan.
.
I am very much looking forward to posting about my first legitimate “travel” section of this blog when I get back and develop my pictures. I’ll start writing a rough draft even before I get back, just so I won’t forget all the details, and my memory will still be fresh when I get to inserting pictures into the posts. See you guys then!

Roll No.2: University of Michigan

Roll #: 2
Film: Fujifilm 200
Developer: Costco
Mode: Programmed AE

Remember when I mentioned that I was going to the University of Michigan last post about, er, a really long time ago? Well, I did! I got the photos developed really fast (2 days) because I was very eager to see how they turned out. Basically the same exact settings as Roll No. 1, except way less doubting and fiddling and general nervousness with the functions. I went AE Program the whole way.

My overall feeling with how this batch turned out was, actually, more negative than the last. I don’t know why exactly the pictures this time didn’t come out as good as the last time. If anything, it should be better, right, because of the whole more experience thing? But maybe I just got really lucky last time!

I hate pinpointing down the explanations behind “why stuff happened,” mostly because it’s so difficult to do, but I guess I’ll try stabbing at a theory here. I would guess that it was the winter weather. In my Kodak manual, it says that the whiteness of snow and bareness during winter makes the camera automatically underexpose. However, this kind of conflicts with what I observed in Roll No.2, which is that the pictures seemed to be overexposed. But I’ll let you take a look a couple and see for yourself. (By the way, I edited all of these to make them look better, but I think you can still tell clearly where the flaws all are.)

073589-R1-02-22A

Hello, Ann Arbor!  The weather was sunny/cloudy when we got there, and became progressively cloudy throughout the day. It definitely felt like below 0 outdoors, crazy wind chill, but I’ve read up like a good photographer and so I know cold doesn’t affect film at all (unless it’s Antarctica, which in that case, why are you taking pictures with a film camera?! The poor things were manufactured in the 1980s!)

Given that I was using 200 ISO film, the lighting conditions could’ve been better, but my meter did read in the pretty high range (that I’ve seen so far), which was 8-11. So was it a lack of sunlight necessarily? In my first roll ever, the lighting conditions were around the same if not a little worse, but everything still turned out pretty good. I’m just disappointed that was none of that nice golden light effect on this batch like there were one some of the pictures from the last. As you can see in the above picture, everything was pretty gray and flat–and that was after I amped up the contrast, saturation, and exposure in iPhoto’s editing option.

073589-R1-01-23A

Not to mention, I felt like the general quality of No. 2 was a lot blurrier. Why blurry? I might’ve been a little cold during the morning half of the university tour (shaking in my boots, to be honest; I underdressed again as is my nature to), but I’m pretty sure I held the camera quite steady. This is a picture of a small part of the downtown. I love looking at all the detail in the signs and general busyness of the scene, but everything seems to be over-washed in a dull, gray tone. This shot didn’t quite reflect the actuality of the picture, because the real setting was a lot brighter–more alive. If only pictures came out every time as they look from the viewfinder!

073589-R1-00-24A

Near the parking structure where we put the car was a bike repair shop. Now, I’m in love with bikes very much, so just seeing this store made me extremely happy. One reason I enjoy university towns so much is that there are always so many commuters and cyclists! Being one of the 5-ish people who bike to school at my high school, I dream of the day where all my friends bike and we can all cruise from class to class in a bike posse…but anyway, moving on to the photographic aspect of this picture. It was very interesting, because all the neon signs behind the windows turned out nice and clear and legible–but the one outdoor one, that red blurry strip you see on the top, was completely fuzzed out. It must be something about LED lighting or neon lights! That makes me slightly worried, because I’ll be going to Las Vegas during spring break in April, and, y’know, the whole point of Las Vegas is the neon lighting everywhere. Maybe it’s different in the night than in the day, though, when there is less contrast between natural light and LED lighting…

073589-R1-05-19A

About halfway through the tour, my mom and I had to leave, because we’d scheduled to attend an info session at University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business! If I were to have a practical major that makes money, it would be business. So, it was important that I saw what the business school at any prospective university had to offer. This is a picture of the fancy glass sign at the front of the building. I would say I was the most satisfied with this one shot in the whole roll. Didn’t have to edit it at all, and it turned out very clear and sharp–even though you can’t exactly read the lettering because of all the reflections and whatnot.

Ross itself is an amazing piece of architecture. A 100 billion dollar gift from the eponymous real estate mogul, completed in 2009, sprawling modern structure, Silver LEED-certified (which actually means something to me, because I spent a semester researching green architecture this year for a personal project), and the second-biggest donation in history to a university (right behind UChicago’s Booth School of Business, which I also visited last summer! I gotta say, Ross is prettier, though). I was not expecting it to be this cool. Why didn’t anybody tell me this before?! A school this nice should’ve definitely been mentioned at some point in passing during my 3 years in Michigan!

073589-R1-04-20A

I was still adjusting my focus when this woman in a bright red coat walked by the building. Cue scramble to click the shutter button while making sure everything still looked right! This trip to U of M was my first time actually taking pictures “on the field,” which is very different, I should add, from walking around leisurely in a suburb taking pictures of inanimate houses and trees. Real people were in several of my shots this time. All the passerby were probably wondering why I was acting so touristy with a SLR slung around my neck, the huge lens peering everywhere, and the shutter making its loud shutter sound. But they don’t know that I live an hour away from this place. 😉 And who knows, I might be going to this university someday in the future!

073589-R1-03-21A

One more shot of the exterior before we go in…can you see what I mean by the grayness though? It kind of puts you in a vintage/bad-film-picture-which-is-still-artistic-though mood, but I just wish what turned out reflected more of what I saw that day. Which is to say: brighter, clearer, sharper, better.

073589-R1-07-17A

When we walked in, we just went straight through the modern building into the odd Ross building to attend the info seminar. Then we got a tour later by one of the students of the modern building again. I hid my camera away the whole time during the tour, simply because it was Friday and students were still milling about everywhere, and because of the general atmosphere of Ross. It’s a professional-looking, extremely classy, cozy-yet-serious business school. I didn’t want to disturb anybody or draw unnecessary attention to myself by being the only one possessing a camera and pointing it around everywhere! I really wish I could’ve taken away some photos of what I saw, though. It was so cool. Maybe, if I ever go here one day, I can become part of the newspaper press or something and be actually licensed to take pictures of people doing stuff.

Oh, right–in the picture above, those were solar panel lighting fixtures hanging suspended from the very tall, spacious ceiling of the main atrium area. Ross is LEED-certified, as I mentioned before. In my previous roll I’d discerned some notable difference between the effects of natural sunlight and tungsten light on film. What was cool this time is, when I pointed my lens upwards at the light fixtures, the meter read a high 11 as it would in sunny outdoors conditions! I guess it’s obvious, because they’re solar panels. I just think it’s cool, though, because the light isn’t actually coming from the Sun–yet it still retains all of its original properties. Fascinating.

After the tour of Ross, we went to their cafeteria/cafe on the ground floor and ate lunch. I gleefully took a picture of the beautiful food. I took two, actually, because that’s how nice the meal was. But, wait, a pause is in order. This post is getting long, and I am just now publishing it after, what, a month since I took the pictures–so I’m just going to stop here now!

Just so you know, the forecast for a continuation of this post is 50%. I intend to actually write one, of course, but I also did intend to follow-up on Roll No.1’s post, which….I never did. So, just being realistic here! And in case you need any more incentive to stick around (follow, perhaps, is the term on WordPress), here are some photo-noteworthy events in my life coming up for sure in the near future:

  • Development of Roll #3! The content: A friend’s Sweet 16th birthday party, and my school’s Band/Orchestra concert (we are all dressed up classy in black and white! Yay, human subjects!)
  • Spring Break–The Grand Canyon and Las Vegas! First vacation since summer for this poor girl, and also first vacation with my film camera.
  • Got a raving post on the book The Kite Runner sitting in the Draft box right now. Don’t know whether it’s ever going to see the light of day or not, but if any of you are interested in reading it, let me know!

First Roll Ever!

Roll #: 1
Film: Fujifilm 200
Developer: Costco
Mode: Programmed AE/Shutter-Priority AE

So! I got my first roll of film back from Costco yesterday. I was really skeptical at first about whether to send my stuff over to them to develop or not, because it’s a wholesale supermarket, essentially, and the guy at the photo station told me they develop in 300 dpi. But then I read some online forums about how dpi apparently doesn’t matter, and that Costco has the best results for the buck ($5 for a 24-exposure roll and CD, in case you’re wondering). I figured it was my first roll and all anyway, so eh, the expectations weren’t meant to be that elevated anyway. Why not just try it out.

Well, Costco ended up being really good! My photos obviously have a long way to go before they become excellent like a lot of the young photographers’ pictures on Flickr, of course, but for now, I’m just glad they even turned out focused/visible/reasonably saturated. They gave me the negatives, which are actually the film strips with all the pictures imprinted on them, in an envelope, as well as the digital copies on the CD. I’ve tucked them into the niche in my closet now, which is officially where all my photography stuff (camera, strap spare parts, film canisters, etc.) goes. One day I’m going to have to invest in some sort of filing system for all my negatives and CDs. But gradually, gradually.

So now I’m going to go over some of the pictures that I took for the purposes of instructing myself, a complete newbie, and all those who wish to read and learn along. It’s important to remember things and take notes if one wishes to get better at film photography, I think, because the main drawback with film is that you can’t instantaneously review and playback your pics like you can on a digital camera. Time erodes, you soon forget exactly which aperture and shutter speed and lighting was present, and so on and so forth. So I’m going to do it here, while I still somewhat remember, and hope that I (and maybe others!) can learn from thereon.

073421-R1-14-10A

Alrighty, first picture. First thing to note: I remember feeling really weird about looking through things through the rangefinder and being like, “Wait, is this really what’s going to show up on the film once I click the shutter button? What if I’m too close and I’m not seeing the whole frame?” It’s still pretty unreal, because I seem to recall the pumpkin being a lot bigger in the rangefinder than it is in reality here, but oh well.

Dayum, though, look at all that fine detail on the concrete and the subject! The soft natural look of sunlight veiling everything…God, I love film. This was overall a success photo, so I don’t have anything much to learn from this, other than the fact that I have to figure out what the numbers on the meter actually mean. This one was like 5.6 or something. I think, whatever the number is, that it directly relates to the amount of sunlight in the picture. But is it aperture? Overall exposure? I don’t know.

073421-R1-16-8A

Dang it, it’s not in focus!Or so I thought, until I saw the very top of the picture and realized that the camera had actually been focusing on the leaves and part-chicken there. I don’t know why, because it was in focus when I took the picture, but maybe I had been focusing on the white chicken, and thus missed the bulk of the actual frame in the process.

This could have been a really nice shot, though, what with the golden chicken’s color matching nicely with the ground, and my sister’s boots on the right side. Not your conventional cutesy hipster footwear, but I like the color contrast it brings to the picture. The thing about film, though–at least in my worshipping opinion right now–is that even blurry pictures look kinda…good. It’s really just the color composition that makes my eyes sigh and curl up in contentment. (If eyes can even curl…that’s a weird image).

073421-R1-17-7A

I wanted to get the two chickens together, and they were moving rapidly, so I switched to Shutter-Priority AE and putting the shutter speed to something high, 500 or 1000. It turned out pretty well! I love how crisp the white is against the background, but most of all, I love the texture of the leaves underfoot! It’s soooo clear. Good green areas in the background too, and it was perfect that the fence was there because it makes for a very interesting blurry backdrop. Brings an almost mathematical pattern and symmetry to the shot. On the right side where the ivy is,  could that be considered bokeh? Because I really love it, regardless the name.

073421-R1-18-6A

Looks like the debris/leaves are really good subjects for texture and a range of dark-light colors. I have a feeling film in the fall would be utterly magnificent. But my favorite part of this picture is the sunlight coming out in the middle. There’s no other adjective for it but “golden,” and that is in every sense of the word. Love how it falls on and highlights the black buckets and the silhouette of the golden (yellow?) chicken. It gives the tree trunk depth and gradient too!

073421-R1-19-5A

This is one of the several pictures in the roll that showed me if you want to take a good shot, it should actually have a subject in it. I’m always seeing straight-on pictures of trees and leaves and flora on Tumblr, so I thought I’d try it out. Evidently, it didn’t work out that well. This was actually really washed-out beforehand; I really vamped up the saturation to get it to look like the final product you see here. The right side is okay, but the left just lacks a lot of content and focus. It looks really pixel-y and lifeless.

Of course, this being the First Ever Roll, I don’t know whether what I observe here will actually always be the case, or is more of just a one-time thing. But that’s why the collect more than one trial of data in science labs, I guess!

073421-R1-20-4A

Here is my lovely little sister, Emily! She was hard at work cleaning out all the poop and gunk from the chicken coop when I asked her to pose for one of my “FIRST EVER PICTURES!!!”

When she saw it she was like, “Ehhh,” but, you see, that’s just the thing with film–because I think this looks great! I can already tell (from my other shot of my dad, which I won’t put on here because I don’t like looking at his face much) that one of the major strengths of my Canon AE-1 Program will be taking pictures of people. Film just does something amazing with the human profile, makes it that much colorful and alive and nice to look at. I think it really improves the condition of the skin, especially, and gives it a blush-like appearance of vigor and spirited vitality. They should sell film cameras instead of youth serums, I swear. But yeah. I will definitely take more pictures of people from now on–hopefully myself if I can get somebody to learn a bit about operating this thing–and get my friends to participate in my shots, because I have really attractive friends imho that would make good subjects.

073421-R1-21-3A

Despite the sequence of these photos, this one was actually the First Ever Picture That I Took. Look how clear all the individual blades of grass are! I don’t necessarily like the color tones that much, but screw it, at least the picture’s in focus. And didn’t I kind of use the Rule of Thirds for that chicken there?

By the way, if you noticed, yeah, that’s chicken poop right there. I didn’t see it until my sister pointed it out last night to me. No wonder the poultry was standing so still for my camera.

073421-R1-01-23A

Indoor picture! I quickly learned a couple of things about artificial vs. sun light, even before I got this roll back.

  1. It’s way easier to get the meter to read a properly exposed number in sunlight than artificial light. The camera was made to read real sun rays, not fluorescent bulbs. I found that, indoors, the only way I could get it properly exposed was when I pointed the lens directly into the bulb of a ceiling light or chandelier. Conversely, one bright Sunday morning, I woke up to rare sunshine filtering through the blinds, and got my camera out to take a photo. Whoa there! The meter was going around 6-8, which is the highest I’ve seen so far in my short picture-taking experience. So, in conclusion: sunlight = good, indoor = get some 400 ISO film.
  2. Some other pictures I took with other sources of artificial lighting turned out extremely underexposed/dark, or orange-y, but this one was the only decent one. It must be the type of light–whiteish, not yellow, and really dynamic with the shadows of the room. The rest of the room was utterly dark, as you can tell from the background. Also, this picture actually read as underexposed when I took it. It turned out perfectly okay, though, apart from a little blur that can be all attributed to me, because I don’t think I used a high shutter speed at all; I just told my sister to keep talking and moving around so I could get a “candid” shot. Well, now I know that posing is actually preferred when it comes to film, because posing seems to have no risk at all of turning out “fake” like it so very often does with digital. If anything, having someone smile directly into the camera is actually a charming and positive advantage.
  3. Light sources directly from the top cast nice, softly-falling shadows and contours in the human face. Very good for emotive, studious-type portraits. May utilize in the future…

073421-R1-02-22A

Great sharpness + focus in the picture, cool reflections on desk. But as you can tell, and as aforementioned in the picture above, this picture had an overwhelmingly orange/yellow tone to it. It’s from the tungsten, for sure. Also, if I were to change the composition of this picture, I would move the light source further into the frame. It seems too small and cut-off as it is now, just a partial oval shining into the objects on the table.

073421-R1-03-21A

Same thing for this too. The exposure meter was correct, but when I got this picture back, almost all of it was in complete blackness save for the yellowness of the bulbs. I adjusted the exposure way back for the final product. So, note to learn from: Don’t take pictures of artificial lights, especially if they already have a warm yellow aura!

I feel like this post is getting a bit long, so I’ll stop here. I’ll maybe/probably be posting the rest of the photos later!